She visits us today with her new book JAILBIRD and a guest post.
about the book:
A paradoxical blend of light and dark, Jailbird is a warm and humorous tale about the power of hope.
Neena Allen has led a tough life. Born on the reservation, raped and unjustly convicted of murdering her attacker, she survives prison - barely. When an opportunity presents itself, she doesn't hesitate to escape. Presumed dead, she stumbles into a sleepy Arkansas town where she finds refuge with a kind family and glimpses the chance for a real home, a place to belong. But leading a double life isn’t easy, especially when you fall in love with the town lawyer. To complicate matters further, a tenacious reporter gets too close to the truth and Neena finds herself on the run again. With a manhunt under way and her newfound happiness at risk, Neena must face the painful memories of her past or risk losing the future she dreams of.
Should she fight for her new life or give up those she loves to keep them safe?
Heather was born and spent her early childhood in Florida, but now calls the beautiful state of Missouri home. Her greatest joy, aside from writing, is to hit the road with her three boys for adventures unknown. Heather is the author of Throwaway, Ties that Bind, Jailbird, Ring of Fire, Suddenly a Spy and Tumbleweed. You can find out more about her writing and charitable work on www.heatherhuffman.net.
and now, for Heather's guest post,
Thank you Heather for visiting us,
HEATHER: Blog tours are fun because they allow me to revisit a world I probably haven’t had much time to think about since writing that particular novel. I spend a lot of time on each post, often too much, and I make myself late turning posts in!
And sometimes, I spend so much time talking about a book I begin to forget what it was that made me love the book in the first place. So for today’s post, I thought it might be fun to let Jailbird speak for itself by sharing one of my favorite scenes with you. In my mind, this scene captures the world Neena Allen finds herself in after her escape from prison. It’s such a stark contrast to the nightmare she’d been living. It’s a place full of warmth and sunshine and laughter – even now, I smile as I read it.
The summer breeze toyed with my hair while the sun kissed my cheek. The ice cream was heaven to my taste buds. Laughter bubbled like a brook all around me. It was a serene moment of perfection.
Unbidden, images of the previous summer flashed through my mind. Sweaty and aching after long days of laboring in the sun, tempers would flare each evening. Mary’s friendship had probably saved my life on more than one of those evenings. It had certainly saved my sanity.
“Excuse me.” I hopped to my feet as tears sprang to my eyes. I was angry with myself for marring such a lovely day, but I also couldn’t stop the tumult of emotions. Somehow, I managed to find the bathroom. I splashed some water on my face and took a few steadying breaths. When I was pretty sure I had a better grip on myself, I wandered back to the porch. Dreams like this one were very pretty, but they weren’t meant for me.
The other adults eyed me as I reclaimed my seat but I waved their concern off and muttered something about too much sweet tea. Charlie arched an eyebrow, and his mouth battled with a grin.
I barely paid attention to the conversation floating around me. Instead, I watched the children play—wishing I could be one of them.
“Come play tag with us.” Isabel must have read my expression. It occurred to me that the only chains that bound me now were those of convention.
“Honey, Miss Neena doesn’t want to play tag with you.” Anjelita barely got the sentence out before I was down the stairs and on the lawn with the girls.
“I don’t mind,” I quickly reassured her before calling, “Not it.”
“Not it.” Charlie surprised me by tossing his napkin on the table and standing. The amusement in his eyes told me I hadn’t hidden my surprise well.
“Not it!” The girls cried at the same instant.
“Uh-oh.” I pursed my lips and shrugged. “Now how are we going to decide?”
“Thumb war.” Cara sighed as if it were inevitable.
“Alright.” Charlie extended his hand. “Let’s do this.”
After a few accusations of cheating and much giggling, the first round of thumb wars was over and I found myself face to face with Charlie, our hands locked and ready for battle. I tried not to think about the incredible warmth spreading from his touch.
“One, two, three, four; I declare a thumb war,” we dutifully recited, and the battle began. The girls’ cheers were soon joined by Anjelita’s and Manny’s. It started slowly at first, then next thing I knew I was jumping and dodging with my entire body trying to stay in the war. He was as bad as I, twisting and maneuvering to get the edge on me.
“Stand still, you little cheat,” he laughed.
“You stand still, big cheat.”
My thumb was actually getting tired. It was ridiculous. It was fun. I was determined to win.
“Neena,” Manny called my name. I looked up and realized I’d been duped the second I felt Charlie’s thumb clamp down on mine.
“That’s low, Torres. Real low.” I shook my head disapprovingly.
“Don’t worry, Neena. He’ll pay for that one,” Anjelita assured me.
“Thanks, man.” Charlie half-saluted him then smiled wickedly at me. “Neena’s it.”
“Fine. If you can look yourself in the mirror after this…fine.” I reached out and touched his arm before darting off. “Tag, you’re it.”
“No fair!” He called after me before turning on the two girls, who squealed with delight before tearing through the yard.
I ran and played until my lungs screamed in protest, and I collapsed in the lawn to watch the clouds roll by while I waited for my breath to even. Charlie dropped to his knees beside me, grinning like a man who’d just learned how.
“You’re insane. You know that, don’t you?” He lay back, crossing his arms behind his head.
“Yes, but life is more amusing that way.” I smiled a little and closed my eyes. The sun on my face felt delicious. I took a deep breath. Someone had cut their grass recently, the sweet heavy scent hung in the air.
Heather Huffman writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense with strong female leads who refuse to lose hope. She sees her books as a way to not only entertain, but to also raise awareness of the realities of modern day slavery. She shares the passion of her resilient heroines to make a difference, and so dedicates both her time and a portion of her book royalties to organizations that fight against human trafficking.
Heather was born and spent her early childhood in Florida, but now calls the beautiful state of Missouri home. Her greatest joy, aside from writing, is to hit the road with her three boys for adventures unknown.
She is the author of Throwaway, Ties that Bind, Jailbird, Suddenly a Spy, Ring of Fire, Tumbleweed and Devil in Disguise. You can find out more about her writing and charitable work on www.heatherhuffman.net
THANK YOU HEATHER FOR VISITING TODAY
Heather's visit was made possible by